Yahoo! Experts League analysis

Brandon Funston
Yahoo! Sports

On Friday, July 16, Yahoo! Sports Fantasy held its first experts draft. Included in this 10-team, market-setting experience were representatives of KFFL (William Del Pillar), (John Hansen), (Peter Schoenke), (Adam Caplan), Fantasy Sports Magazine (Tom Kessenich), (Roland Beech), THQ Wireless (Roger Rotter), and Yahoo! Sports' three fantasy experts (Mike Harmon, Matt Romig and, myself, Brandon Funston).

The format of the league is a fairly typical yardage-based system, with the added twist of awarding a point per reception, a fad that seems to be catching on in the world of fantasy football. In addition to the draft results and follow-up analysis provided by each league member below, you can track this league during the season by visiting the following link: Yahoo! Experts League

We'll be checking in regularly on this league during the season but, in the mean time, here is a breakdown of what transpired during the draft, and why.

Rnd Y! Sports–Romig THQ Wireless KFFL
1 LaDainian Tomlinson (1) Priest Holmes (2) Ahman Green (3) Deuce McAllister (4) Clinton Portis (5)
2 Terrell Owens (20) Daunte Culpepper (19) Marvin Harrison (18) Brian Westbrook (17) Corey Dillon (16)
3 Travis Henry (21) Torry Holt (22) Stephen Davis (23) Tony Gonzalez (24) Michael Bennett (25)
4 Kevin Jones (40) Anquan Boldin (39) Duce Staley (38) Trent Green (37) Charlie Garner (36)
5 Marcel Shipp (41) Curtis Martin (42) Eric Moulds (43) Chad Johnson (44) Joe Horn (45)
6 Todd Heap (60) Lee Suggs (59) Marc Bulger (58) Eddie George (57) Darrell Jackson (56)
7 Steve McNair (61) Kellen Winslow (62) DeShaun Foster (63) Koren Robinson (64) Aaron Brooks (65)
8 Justin McCareins (80) Keyshawn Johnson (79) Jimmy Smith (78) Isaac Bruce (77) Peerless Price (76)
9 Jerry Porter (81) Willis McGahee (82) Chad Pennington (83) Donte' Stallworth (84) Boo Williams (85)
10 Justin Fargas (100) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (99) William Green (98) Baltimore Ravens (97) Onterrio Smith (96)
11 David Givens (101) Chris Perry (102) Marty Booker (103) Ron Dayne (104) Keenan McCardell (105)
12 Peter Warrick (120) Byron Leftwich (119) Dallas Clark (118) Brad Johnson (117) Jake Plummer (116)
13 Miami Dolphins (121) Jason Elam (122) Carolina Panthers (123) Jerome Bettis (124) David Akers (125)
14 Adam Vinatieri (140) Rashaun Woods (139) Jay Feely (138) Josh Brown (137) Seattle Seahawks (136)
Rnd TwoMinuteWarning Y! Sports–Harmon Y! Sports–Funston FantasySportsMag
1 Shaun Alexander (6) Ricky Williams (7) Jamal Lewis (8) Edgerrin James (9) Randy Moss (10)
2 Marshall Faulk (15) Rudi Johnson (14) Domanick Davis (13) Kevan Barlow (12) Fred Taylor (11)
3 Derrick Mason (26) Tiki Barber (27) T.J. Duckett (28) Hines Ward (29) Thomas Jones (30)
4 Jeremy Shockey (35) Michael Vick (34) Santana Moss (33) Peyton Manning (32) Julius Jones (31)
5 Laveranues Coles (46) Javon Walker (47) Chris Chambers (48) Tatum Bell (49) Steve Smith (50)
6 Donovan McNabb (55) Andre Johnson (54) Matt Hasselbeck (53) Garrison Hearst (52) Warrick Dunn (51)
7 Chris Brown (66) Steven Jackson (67) Tyrone Wheatley (68) Quentin Griffin (69) Brett Favre (70)
8 Mike Vanderjagt (75) Alge Crumpler (74) Plaxico Burress (73) Charles Rogers (72) Correll Buckhalter (71)
9 Larry Fitzgerald (86) Ashley Lelie (87) Andre' Davis (88) Antonio Gates (89) Amani Toomer (90)
10 Rod Smith (95) New England Patriots (94) Tom Brady (93) Drew Bennett (92) Randy McMichael (91)
11 David Boston (106) Brandon Lloyd (107) Larry Johnson (108) Reggie Wayne (109) Kevin Johnson (110)
12 Moe Williams (115) Jeff Wilkins (114) Philadelphia Eagles (113) Dallas Cowboys (112) Jeff Garcia (111)
13 Minnesota Vikings (126) Marcus Robinson (127) Ryan Longwell (128) John Kasay (129) Matt Stover (130)
14 Jake Delhomme (135) Anthony Thomas (134) Jason Witten (133) Josh McCown (132) Buffalo Bills (131)

Draft follow-up Q&A with
Q: Arizona head coach Dennis Green says Emmitt Smith will start, yet you were willing to call Marcel Shipp's name to start the fifth round. What are your expectations for Shipp? I view Green's move naming Smith as the starter as a PR move to give Smith respect, but Shipp will get the bulk of the work. I'm thinking 1,100 yards and 5 TDs. It's just a matter of time until Smith gets hurt, like last year, so Shipp has solid upside for my 4th back.

Q: You decided upon LaDainian Tomlinson with the first pick ahead of Priest Holmes. Was Tomlinson's receiving skills the sole reason for opting for him ahead of Holmes, or do you expect that Tomlinson will outperform Holmes on the ground, too? Mostly it was the 100 receptions he had in '03. He should get at least 80 again. Also, Holmes' age worries me a bit. But overall, Tomlinson just rated slightly better in this scoring system. I'm not a big fan of the No. 1 pick this season. There isn't much difference between the top six backs, but a big difference in picking between No. 14 and No. 20 on the way back. I'd look to trade down if you get No. 1 this year.

Q: You drafted Travis Henry in the 3rd round, yet Yahoo! expert Matt Romig landed Willis McGahee, Henry's highly-touted back-up, in Round 9. Was your plan to target McGahee later, or were you even concerned with insuring the Henry selection? My strategy was to amass as many upside backs as I could in the first five rounds (with one top WR) and then find value at the other starting offense positions in rounds 6 through 9. So I wasn't as worried as much about handcuffing my players. If this was a 12- or 14-team league, then I'd look to get the backups to my top picks. But there was too much value on the board to go that direction. I like the upside of Justin Fargas in round 10 better than trying to protect my top backs.

Q: Who do you consider to be your best-value pick? I like my Justin McCareins/Jerry Porter combo in the 8th/9th round – bookend picks. Both are big upside plays this year and coming into their own in systems that will get them the ball. After overemphasizing running backs early because of my draft position, these guys saved my bacon.

Draft follow-up Q&A with Yahoo! Sports' Matt Romig
Q: After landing Priest Holmes with the second pick, you went counter to the draft trend and didn't take your second RB until Round 5 (Curtis Martin). Was this a calculated maneuver and do you feel that your backfield of Holmes, Martin, Lee Suggs, Willis McGahee and Chris Perry is enough to consider yourself secure at the RB position?

Romig: Secure? I drafted a guy who is allergic to painted grass (Martin), two backups (Perry, McGahee) and a potential one-hit wonder playing behind a shaky offensive line (Suggs). What's not to feel secure about? Truth is, I'm the last man alive who believes running backs are overvalued – at least on draft day. I won a league last year by signing and starting Thomas Jones in Week 15. Running backs will emerge. I wouldn't have the same confidence if I was looking for an impact wideout in Week 10.

Q: Speaking of Perry, Rudi Johnson is seeing a lot of love on Draft Day, while Perry (Johnson's backup) has often been an afterthought. How much do you envision Perry getting to play and, based on the fact that you took Perry in Round 11, do you think that Johnson is getting too much love?

Romig: Johnson carried the ball 20 or more times in five games last season and averaged 138 yards, six touchdowns in those games. That's worthy of some considerable love. Having said that, he will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and the Bengals used a first-round pick on Perry when they had needs elsewhere, so they don't have much invested in Rudi. I'll be watching training camp and the opening weeks closely. Perry may well get cut when my tight end has a bye week.

Q: Your 8th round pick, Keyshawn Johnson, heads to Dallas to be reunited with Bill Parcells. What kind of season do you see him having in his new locale?

Romig: Two factors dictated this pick. First, receptions are worth one point in this league and Johnson is a possession receiver only two seasons removed from ranking in the top five in catches. The secondary influence was the move to Dallas. He's a good fit for a team looking to minimize the down-field mistakes of their starting quarterback. Should Quincy Carter falter, Johnson could be reunited with Vinny Testaverde, the only quarterback with whom he's established 10-touchdown chemistry. I'm expecting 70+ catches, 900 yards and eight touchdowns.

Q: Who do you consider to be your best-value pick?

Romig: Kellen Winslow. In a round that saw five running backs of very questionable value selected along with two aging quarterbacks, I got a guy who is capable of breaking out to be one of the top one or two players at his position.

Draft follow-up Q&A with THQ Wireless
Q: You wound up taking two quarterbacks by the end of Round 9 (Marc Bulger and Chad Pennington). Is this an indication that you have some concerns about your starter, Marc Bulger?

THQ Wireless: My smile flashed larger than colorful Rams owner Georgia Frontiere when Bulger slipped to the 58th pick. Bulger, who was a top five QB in '03, will improve in only his second full season as a starter. The absence of Kurt Warner means he will operate his first preseason as the No. 1 QB and be better prepared to lead the explosive St. Louis offense. Injuries can strike a quarterback anytime, so every fantasy team needs a solid backup. Pennington was too promising to bypass. He was fantasy's sixth-most productive quarterback during his nine starts a year ago.

Q: You drafted Stephen Davis in Round 3 and then used a 7th-round pick on back-up DeShaun Foster. How important was it for you to get Foster? We all saw that a committee approach in the playoffs worked well enough to help take the Panthers to the Super Bowl. How do you envision these two splitting up the chores in the Carolina backfield this season?

THQ Wireless: Such as last year's playoffs, Davis will be the workhorse while Foster will serve as a change-of-pace. No reason for Carolina to give Foster 20-plus carries until Davis becomes injured, is ineffective or tires late in the season. Davis averaged 4.5 yards per carry, higher than Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander and Foster. Unfortunately, I had to pass up Steven Jackson to ensure that I had Carolina's featured back in my starting lineup the entire season.

Q: We all know that this being an even-numbered year, Eric Moulds' indicators say that he'll rebound in a big way. But you took him ahead of Chad Johnson, Joe Horn, Laveranues Coles and Steve Smith, to name a few. What makes you so confident that Moulds will outperform the others mentioned?

THQ Wireless: Moulds offered the safest and highest upside of the remaining receivers. Injuries and the departure of Peerless Price hurt Moulds' production last year. The Bills chose Lee Evans, one of the draft's fastest receivers, with their first pick, and he'll help prevent double teams. Moulds had a career fantasy season two years ago with Price spreading defenses. Remember, new head coach Mike Mularkey is no stranger to effective passing offenses, helping transform Pittsburgh's Hines Ward into a top fantasy receiver as the offensive coordinator.

I didn't choose the following receivers for these reasons: Chad Johnson is risky with quarterback Carson Palmer, who has yet to throw an NFL pass. Clinton Portis will be the featured star and designated TD scorer in Washington, overshadowing Laveranues Coles. Javon Walker and Chris Chambers are rising stars, but they aren't the prolific pass catchers yet. The emotionally explosive Steve Smith has just one great season for his career. Joe Horn plays hurt and is productive, but I'm banking on Moulds to approach his 100 catches, 1,287 yards and 10 TDs from two years ago.

Q: Who do you consider to be your best-value pick?

THQ Wireless: This league counts one point per reception, and I thought I stole Marvin Harrison with the 18th pick after Randy Moss was chosen in the first round. He had an NFL-record 143 catches two years ago, and the NFL is allowing receivers to run freely without illegal contact this season.

Duce Staley was a mid-round value and unfairly criticized as an Eagle back. When given starting duties, he's produced, totaling 1,570 yards and eight TDs in 2002. Forget the aging Jerome Bettis and unproven Verron Haynes. Staley is the unquestioned full-time starter, and his $4 million signing bonus demonstrates that. Add that he's one of the league's best receivers at his position and count up the fantasy bonus point per reception. Not bad for the 25th running back taken in the draft.

The late-round sleeper is Marty Booker in the 11th round. New Bears coach Lovie Smith should bring an aggressive passing attack from St. Louis, and Booker is the only proven receiver on the roster. He totaled 197 catches in 2001 and 2002 in a conservative offense and still has the skills of a No. 1 wideout. Expect quite a few passes thrown his way.

Draft follow-up Q&A with KFFL
Q: Most would agree that Brian Westbrook is one of the most exciting players in the game. You were willing to take him with the No. 17 pick overall. Given that Westbrook will share carries with Correll Buckhalter and that only 4 of Westbrook's 13 TDs came from within 15 yards, what is your thought process in taking Westbrook this high?

KFFL: The draft moved at a lightning speed and picking sixth left me in a tough position. With literally every pick being a RB, I needed to make sure I maximized my second pick with what little of the RBs were left. With the league scoring one point per reception, Westbrook becomes a few notches better than his usual ranking. Granted Michael Bennett and Tiki Barber were still on the board, but I decided to go with the RB with upside instead of two RBs who have major questions surrounding them. With an expectation of 55-plus receptions out of Westbrook this year, we think he was arguably the best of what was left. This was a pick not based on total TDs and even then, he matches up with Barber and Bennett in that department. He was our No. 18 ranked RB and yes, picking in the middle of the draft for the upcoming year is not the best spot for individuals who believe in the stud RB theory!

Q: Why do you like Trent Green over Matt Hasselbeck and Donovan McNabb? You took Green ahead of the other two, despite others who have both those QBs rated higher.

KFFL: The truth is that while I like the system Green is in, all three QBs are at about the same level. What I like about Green is his track record and gutsy play. Granted it's only a two-year track record, but he's shown the grit needed to win. McNabb has this, but McNabb is always "more" highly rated in preseason guides than what he actually performs when all is said and done. Hasselbeck's a bit inconsistent and though he should put it together for a full season run this year, Green's still the safest pick -– plus, he's playing in the AFC West and though every team there has highly drafted and/or paid secondaries, none of them have played together for long or shown the ability to stay healthy. I like Green's ability to exploit that more so than Hasselbeck or McNabb in their divisions. Finally, I'm simply not sold on WR Terrell Owens elevating McNabb's game.

Q: You landed Ron Dayne in Round 11. It appears he's back on fantasy radars. What do you expect his role is going to be with the Giants this season, and what is his upside potential?

KFFL: Dayne actually fits into coach Tom Coughlin's offense much better than starter Tiki Barber. While he is listed as a backup on the depth charts now, he could eventually find himself as the starter if Barber continues to misfire as he did all of last season – his fumbling history goes back even longer than that. And we all know what Coughlin's pet peeve is ... fumbling! At worst this year, the Giants could go back to "Thunder and Lightning" with Barber and Dayne. That is what makes Dayne an undervalued player with a lot of potential.

Q: Who do you consider to be your best-value pick?

KFFL: The New Orleans Saints have loved the offseason WR Donte Stallworth has had, but he's been injury-prone in his short two-year career and the team showed their concern by drafting Devery Henderson. However, Stallworth has solidified his No. 2 receiver status this offseason and sources close to the team have told KFFL if Stallworth stays healthy, they feel he could end up with better numbers than WR Joe Horn based on what they've seen from him and the fact they've run drills to specifically test the hamstring. Because of this, he could be a very, very good value pick!

Draft follow-up Q&A with
Q: You took a running back with each of your first four picks? Is this a usual strategy for you, was it based upon the flow of this draft or did you perceive the ability to land decent WRs and a QB later given that it was only a 10-team draft? I had planned to go with a WR in the fourth round but when I saw Garner there I thought he was such a good value that I couldn't pass him up. I can't remember the last time I took four RBs with my first four picks.

Q: How important was it for you to marry the pick of Michael Bennett (Round 3) with his back-up Onterrio Smith (Round 10)? How much do you see Smith infringing upon Bennett's playing time? Because of Bennett's injury history, I wanted to make sure I secured Smith. But as long as Bennett is healthy, I don't see Smith infringing upon him much.

Q: Landing Keenan McCardell in Round 11 is likely to be a steal if he ends his holdout. Are expecting him to be ready for the season opener, or was this just a gamble? I don't think taking McCardell in the 11th round is a gamble even if he misses all of training camp. Once a player starts missing paychecks, his stance seems to change. I can only recall two players over the years holding out until the season. Emmitt Smith close to 10 years ago and Bryant McKinnie as a rookie.

Q: Who do you consider to be your best-value pick? Has to be Garner in the fourth round as my fourth RB. He gives me great depth and flexibility.

Draft follow-up Q&A with
Q: Marshall Faulk was the hot potato of this draft, passed over until your second pick, 15th overall. Given his injury history and age, were you confident in being the one to pull the trigger on him? Also, landed Steven Jackson, Faulk's backup, in Round 7. First, were you focused on getting Jackson after selecting Faulk. Second, if so, how long did you think you could wait before selecting Jackson? I feel like Marshall still has a good year or two left, and he seemed like the best option at the No. 15. I guess the guys taken later – Dillon, Westbrook, Henry, Davis – may have lower risk than Faulk. If Faulk's relatively healthy, though, he'll give you plenty of TDs and receptions, which with the latter being worth one point each makes him a good play.

I'm not a big fan of the 'grab the backup to your starter' strategy and so I opted for Chris Brown over Jackson, which in light of the recent news that George has been released should turn out all right. I would've picked up Jackson a few rounds later if he was still available but that of course wasn't likely.

Q: You held the honor of taking the first kicker, going for Mike Vanderjagt in Round 8. Explain your reasoning for going with Vanderjagt ahead of players like Jimmy Smith, Isaac Bruce, Peerless Price, and others. It's probably more like the "dishonor" of grabbing the first kicker, but Vanderjagt is solid and I don't see any reason to believe the Colts won't be scoring lots of points again. There are so many wide receivers to choose from I didn't feel compelled to grab one in that spot, instead thinking it's nice to lock up some positions where in theory you won't have to think about it again.

Q: Foot concerns have a lot of drafters scared away from TE Jeremy Shockey. You were willing to take him in the 4th round. Are you unafraid? What do you expect from Shockey this season? Shockey was the most questionable pick I made, and in hindsight I would agree I selected him too early. However, if he's healthy he is, in this league's scoring system, worth a ton. I've certainly played leagues where I've used a tight end-by-committee approach, but if Shockey's foot doesn't detract from his play (and last year he had foot problems early on but was still playing and performing for a while) he's just an automatic start at the TE position and might even give Tony Gonzalez a run for the money. 80 receptions, 900 yds 5 TDs would seem plausible. You think a young QB won't be frequently looking for that close-in big target over the middle when the pressure starts coming?

Q: Who do you consider to be your best-value pick? I'm pretty happy with my picks in the later rounds and I liked getting a guy like Rod Smith in the 10th round. Inherently though, I tend to favor guys who have produced in the past even with some injury risk over players with projected huge increases in performance, so I don't make a lot of sleeper picks, I suppose. In light of the caliber of opponents in this league, I might have been better off taking more chances! Ah well, we'll see what trades I can conjure up...

Draft follow-up Q&A with
Q: You took the first defense off the board, selecting New England ahead of Baltimore. Were you considering Baltimore with this pick? Oh, I was definitely considering Baltimore. I wanted to have a powerhouse lineup from top to bottom and in a 10-team league, I think you can afford to jump on Bal or NE fairly early. If I miss one of them, I'm holding off until the bitter end. I gave NE the slight edge because I like their return game better and like them a tiny bit more for turnovers.

Q: Despite not being 100 percent assured of a starting job and coming off a season in which he had just 41 catches, you selected Javon Walker in the Round 5 ahead of Chris Chambers and Steve Smith. Obviously you expect Walker to handle one of the Packers' starting roles, but what kind of numbers do you see Walker putting up? I went almost exclusively for upside in this draft, starting with Walker. I think he will start and become Favre's go-to guy. Granted, he won't catch even 80 passes in this offense, but I can see 1100 yards and 10 TDs – and lots of big plays. I took him over Steve Smith because I wanted Walker's upside and I knew Tom Kessenich, a Packer-apologist, would have taken him before my next pick.

Q: In selecting Anthony Thomas in the last round, are you suggesting that you have doubts about Chicago starter Thomas Jones? After all, you chose to take Thomas despite not owning Jones. Meanwhile, you didn't worry about grabbing back-up insurance for your top 3 backs (Ricky Williams, Rudi Johnson and Tiki Barber). I do have doubts about Jones' ability to stay healthy. I have concerns with how he bulked up so quickly a year or so ago, just like his boy David Boston did two years ago in Arizona. Anthony Thomas looks leaner and a little quicker, and he'll be gunning for a starting job as an unrestricted free agent in 2005 if he can take over the starting job due to a Jones injury. In this 10-team league, I wasn't that concerned with backing up my stud runners, plus William's backup situation is a little cloudy with Travis Minor and Sammy Morris likely to split carries if Williams went down.

Q: Who do you consider to be your best-value pick? Rams RB Steven Jackson. As I said, I used this draft as my "upside" draft and swung for the fences. Jackson could be starting for me at least 4-5 games. If he does, I stole him in this draft.

Draft follow-up Q&A with Yahoo! Sports' Mike Harmon
Q: You waited until your final round to take your starting TE (Jason Witten). Was this planned, and do you see the TE position being deeper than in most years?

Mike Harmon: I had targeted Tony Gonzalez in Round 4, but he went just before my selection. After that, I was willing to wait and chose not to roll the dice on Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Shockey's health or Alge Crumpler's fit in Michael Vick's offense. I spent the next selections solidifying my receiving corps instead. Witten was a player I had targeted for late in the draft and coming down to the last selection, I was happy to find him there. Bill Parcells has a long history of effectively using the TE position (Mark Bavaro and Ben Coates) and with the young QBs in tow, Witten stands to be a big part of the offense in 2004.

Q: You passed on Michael Vick and Anquan Boldin in Round 4, opting for Santana Moss. Do you see Moss improving upon his numbers last season (74, 1105,10 TDD) now that the Jets signed another viable receiving threat in Justin McCareins?

Mike Harmon: I had several other QBs targeted for later rounds, so having been left holding the bag on Vick in 2003, I chose to let him pass by. While he'll have more targets to choose from than have ever been assembled in Atlanta, the installation of a new offense may cause many headaches and get him scrambling again. Likewise, Josh McCown will take his lumps starting for Arizona and Boldin will have to share the pill with Larry Fitzgerald.

Therefore, I ran with Santana Moss. Chad Pennington hooked up with Santana Moss for TDs in five straight games after his return to the lineup in Week 8. With Pennington under center full-time and McCareins running opposite Moss, it'll be a big year for the Jets.

Q: You took Jamal Lewis with your first pick, yet didn't take his backup Musa Smith later on. Is this an indication that you have no worries about Lewis' legal woes?

Mike Harmon: All reports are that nothing will come of this case save a preliminary hearing until after the season, so I'm not terribly concerned with Jamal Lewis's legal status. Regardless of the legal situation, I drafted Jamal Lewis for Jamal Lewis. There was no consideration of the rest of the Ravens offense or the offensive scheme in making this solution. Just as LaDainian Tomlinson (No. 1 in this draft) is a one-man show for the Chargers, Lewis foots the bill for Baltimore. They have "handoff #31, Jamal Lewis" on tape to save the throats of the announcers.

Q: Who do you consider to be your best-value pick?

Mike Harmon: I was happy to see Tom Brady sitting on the board in the Round 10. I love the offseason addition of Corey Dillon and see big things ahead for the Pats offense. Dillon offers an extra option out of the backfield for Brady, which will open up the offense to let Brady best utilize young receivers David Givens and Deion Branch.

Draft follow-up Q&A with Yahoo! Sports' Brandon Funston
Q: After the selection of Peyton Manning in round 4, you proceeded to spend three straight picks acquiring Denver running backs with several starters left on the board. In doing so, you bypassed a number of top-tier wide receivers. What was your thought process here? And why not Mike Anderson?

Brandon Funston: This was all about real estate monopoly. In Mike Shanahan's nine-year tenure in Denver, the Broncos' backfield has been one of the hottest fantasy football properties on the market. His Denver teams have never finished worse than 12th in rushing yards, and have seven top-five finishes in that category. So, for the price of a fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round pick, I have secured, what I feel, is a first-round running back – we just don't know yet whether that will be Garrison Hearst, Tatum Bell or Quentin Griffin. As for Anderson, I had the draw the line somewhere.

Q: You chose Josh McCown as your lone QB with the final pick in the draft (16th QB selected). What kind of numbers do you see coming out of McCown (1018 yards, 5 TD, 6 INT last year) in Dennis Green's offense with Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald on the wings?

Brandon Funston: Green has directed passing attacks in his past run with Minnesota that were almost as prolific as Shanahan's running games. McCown seemingly is in a fertile fantasy position, with Green at the helm and dynamic receiving weapons in Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Then there is the X-factor – McCown's legs. He was the top QB rusher the final three weeks of '03. That should help neutralize any growing pains in the passing game.

Q: In the ninth round you selected TE Antonio Gates, the athletic former hoopster. With a rookie QB in Philip Rivers under center and most of the Chargers offense running through the hands of LT, what made you pull the trigger on Gates in Round 9.

Brandon Funston: Gates is a monster, and he was solid as rookie down the stretch in '03. The Chargers' brass can't stop gushing about this guy. Given that the Chargers have a dearth of quality receivers, Gates is going to represent a safe haven for the inexperienced Rivers. I think Gates can easily be a top-five tight end.

Q: Who do you consider to be your best-value pick?

Brandon Funston: Last season, Reggie Wayne outproduced Seattle's Koren Robinson, Atlanta's Peerless Price and Houston's Andre Johnson, just to name a few. Still, I was able to grab Wayne in Round 11, at least three rounds later than any of those receivers I just mentioned. Sure, those other guys should be a better in '04, but Wayne is still a great value as the 40th receiver picked in this draft.